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April 7-8, 2006

BBQ Cook-Off Pictures & Write-Up (very soon)

Grand Champion:   Otis & the Bird
Reserve Grand Champion:   BBQbyDan



Team BBQbyDan
Rick & Dan receiving the Reserve Grand Champion

Team BBQbyDan
Rick & Dan receiving 2nd for Chicken
Team BBQbyDan
Rick & Dan receiving 2nd for Ribs
Team BBQbyDan
Rick & Dan receiving 5th for Pork Butt
  Overall Rankings
Chicken Rankings Rib Rankings
Pork Rankings
Brisket Rankings
  Sauce Rankings Anything Butt Rankings
  Friday night dinner & dance Our South West Enchilada "Anything But" category turn-in
Arlie Bragg, Contest organizer and promoter
Derek & Don,
Team Dueling Bubba's
Del King
Team Uncle Sam's Misguided Children
Kim, Kent, & Brent Walton
Team QN4U
Team Sug's Shack
Ken & Charla from Arizona,
Team Gourmet Grills
Eva & Hayward Harris,
Team Rib Doctor,
and the film crews
Team Big O's BBQ Pete, Pam, family, Bentley, and Kristen vending to the public,
Team The Pit Stop
 Team BBQbyDan Team BBQbyDan Team All Hogs go to Heaven Country entertainment

BBQ n' at the Autry, Los Angeles (Griffith Park) California, 7-8-April-2006

By Dan Cannon, BBQ Team




I have lived in or near Los Angeles all my life and had never had the opportunity to visit the Gene Autry Museum so I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the location and venue turned out to be.  I arrived an hour or so prior to noon and found that more than half the teams appeared to be set up already.  I met Arlie in the venue parking facility upon arrival and was put in a perfect spot close to everything while easily accommodating my vehicles and space requirements.


Early on rain had been predicted but fortunately the weather pattern changed and it was a beautiful warm day. I had a chance to visit other BBQ teams and relax a bit before the late afternoon rigors of the BBQ Sauce and Southwest "Anything But" turn-in's later that evening.

It’s always nice to get to walk around and visit old friends and new teams prior to starting the contest.


Rick and Karen Streiff (BBQbyDan team members) arrived about 3:00 pm and setup adjacent to our cooking site.  We then started to get to the business of preparing and assembling the “Anything But” entry for the evening.  There was lots of chopping of peppers and cheese grating to obtain the required indigenous Southwest Mexican flair and taste.  The BBQ sauce entry was about as hard as pouring it into the provided cup and warming it up a bit.  Sauce went in at 7:00 pm, the “Anything But” entry went in at 7:30 pm.  Our team entered Shrimp Enchiladas.  We were happy and thought they were great!  However, we ended up with a 10th place out of 20 entries.  So, the judges gave us an average rating. 


Rick and I had lots of pork ribs, beef briskets, pork butts, and chicken to trim, season, and prepare for quick entry into the pit later that evening and the next morning.  We had our work cut out for us.


This was the third BBQ Contest that Arlie Bragg has organized that I have attended and they are always very nicely planned out, well organized, and "Team-Friendly" in their approach and attitude. Arlie is always at the venue location early morning (07:30 am) on opening day providing easy and organized entry, access, and setup.  Vehicle and space requirements are always nicely provided for making it easy to arrive and get setup. Electrical, water, and required facilities are always abundantly available.  All the above are guaranteed to make BBQ Cook-Off's a very pleasant and enjoyable experience.    Especially the instant availability of ice for meats and liquid refreshments that were delivered to each team’s location.


Autry dinner tickets (3) were provided to all the teams upon arrival with the participation kits. I understand that it was a fantastic gala and meal provided by the Gene Autry venue staff and the sponsors.  However my team was so busy preparing our turn-in’s, prepping meats, and cleaning up, that we were unable to break away long enough to attend.  But, that is fine as I am there really to do a BBQ contest and needed to keep my mind and team focused on the tasks of doing the best we could do.



Saturday was a beautiful day, many spectators, and much going on. Unlike any other BBQ Contest I have seen in California over the last 10 years this event was well publicized through the media.  Months prior to the event I saw websites posted and billboards on the freeways advertising the BBQ'n at the Autry Cook-Off.


Days prior there were local television reporters doing spots at the Autry with noted Chef's touting their BBQ skills and speculating on who was going to be the next BBQ champions in California.  There were three television stations on location throughout the day filming a bit, or a lot, at each team location.  I believe they were from ABC, the History Channel, and an Australian television station. 


Overall there was a lot of positive energy and excitement from not only the attending public but also from the organizers, volunteers, staff, and participating teams.  With such a nice venue, great weather, and perfect organization, BBQ Cook-Off's don't get much better!



Finally turn-in time arrived and we did skillfully what we have done so

 many times before.  Perfectly  (hopefully) prepared our greens, did our best to pick the best pieces  of meat or chicken for final turn-in, and got everything to the judges tent by the specified turn-in time.


Since the advent of BBQ Contests presented  on  the  Food  Network  the participating  public  has  become  much  more  sophisticated in  their  knowledge  and questions.  Instead of just walking by  and  asking  for samples  they  are  now  asking  detailed  questions  about the smokers, hardware  used,  and  obtaining  information for building or buying BBQ hardware to  start BBQ'ing and entering contests themselves.  Guess that BBQ and contests will be occurring more often and more teams will be entering at future events.


Awards presentation commenced at 04:00 pm.    Gene Autry staff and sponsors thanked all for their attendance.   This  ceremony  was a bit longer than  usual  due  to  the television coverage  and  ensuring  that  all participants called up to the stage were photographed and on film.


Team BBQbyDan was pleasantly surprised to be called to the stage four times.  We also were awarded “Reserve Grand Champion”!  BBQ Team Otis and the Bird took the “Grand Championship”.  All scores are posted above or at:


Our team was  very  excited and honored to be selected by the judges  out of so many (29  participating)  long-time  and  experienced award  winning teams.  A moment like that can never be taken for granted or expected.  One has to relish in those moments when they happen as it might be fleeting and the last.


Since the Autry recommended it might be best to not stay the  night  we had fully packed after turn-in's and were ready to pull out immediately after awards  presentation.   I was home with my first beverage in hand by 6:30 pm while trying to relish and enjoy the successes of the day.


Early BBQ Contest departures are something I don’t like to do.  Part of the attraction and enjoyment of these events is the ability to sit down after an event, relax around a campfire or heater, and chit-chat with the other team.  We discuss how the contest went, what we did wrong or right, and finally to relish and appreciate the awards we may, or may not, have obtained.  The participating BBQ teams through the years have come to know each other very well, are good friends, and feel like family. The period of time after a contest is looked forward to as much as the contest itself.    At almost all contests many will stay the night after the event, stay up late visiting with good friends, and relax after a weekend of schedules and stress.




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